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Manhattan School of Music Unveils 2018-19 Centennial Performance Season

Renowned music conservatory Manhattan School of Music (MSM) is celebrating its Centennial during the 2018-19 season with performances and events that draw inspiration from its rich 100-year history of music-making and education.

"We're thrilled to share elements of our past, present, and future with New York audiences and the world in a year of events that tell a ground-breaking story of vision, community, inclusiveness, and artistic excellence," said James Gandre, President of Manhattan School of Music.

Three 'tent-pole' concert events will serve as focal points for MSM's season-long Centennial celebrations:

Season Opening Mini-Festival (Sponsored by Bill & Patricia O'Connor) on Friday, September 28, 2018: A day-long series of four concerts will showcase the full range of genres taught at the School, from classical soloists and chamber music to jazz and musical theater, culminating in a performance at neighboring Riverside Church of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. The Beethoven 9 is historically significant for the School as it was performed in 1970 at MSM's dedication concert for John C. Borden Auditorium (recently renamed Neidorff-Karpati Hall). The multi-faceted performance will feature the MSM Symphony, choruses, and a distinguished gathering of alumni soloists, including alumna/soprano Elaine Alvarez (BM '02, MM '04), alumnus/tenor Bryan Register (MM '94), alumna/mezzo-soprano Ronnita Miller (MM '03), and faculty/bass James Morris. Associate Conductor of the Minnesota OrchestraRoderick Cox, recent recipient of the Solti Award, will conduct.

Re-Opening of Neidorff-Karpati Hall and MSM's grand new entrance on November 17 and 18, 2018: A glittering, multi-artist concert unveiling the $15-million, 18-month Centennial Project, which includes a sweeping renovation of the School's flagship performance hall (formerly Borden Auditorium, renamed to acknowledge Noémi K. and Michael Neidorff's anchor gift to the project); a newly expanded lobby; and a grand new Claremont Avenue entrance. More than a refurbishment, this endeavor is in fact a wholesale reimagining of the aesthetic and acoustic environment of MSM's principal performance space; the hall's re-opening will reverberate through every corner of the institution. A larger, more open stage will easily accommodate the largest symphony and jazz orchestras, opera, and musical theatre productions, while new, comfortable chairs in an acoustically sound and resonant listening environment will enhance the live music and theatre experience for future generations of listeners. George Manahan (BM '73, MM '76), Music Director of American Composers Orchestra and MSM's Director of Orchestral Activities, will conduct, and soloists will include faculty/pianist Olga Kern, alumnus/baritone Shuler Hensley (BM '90, HonDMA '14), alumnus/tenor Simon O'Neill (MM '00), and alumna/soprano Jeanine De Bique (BM '02, MM '06, PS '08), among others. Leonard Bernstein's 100th-year jubilee will join with the MSM's own in selections from his musicals, ending with "Make Our Garden Grow" from Candide.

Centennial Gala Finale at Carnegie Hall on April 17, 2019: Leonard Slatkin, MSM Distinguished Visiting Artist, will serve as principal conductor for a stellar evening of performances that will draw from the School's talented pool of distinguished alumni and current College and Precollege faculty and students. Guest artists will include alumna/mezzo Susan Graham (MM '87, HonDMA '08), alumna/violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins (MM '95, HonDMA '17), faculty/violinist Glenn Dicterow, trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard (HonDMA '17, MSM Board of Trustees) among many others.

Programming for these and other concerts throughout the season will include music written and/or premiered around the time of the School's founding in 1918:Igor Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat, Frederick Delius's A Song Before Sunrise, Giacomo Puccini's Suor Angelica, and the McCarthy/Carroll song "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows."

Music by Leonard Bernstein, whose centennial birthday is this year, will be featured, as will that of Claude Debussy, who died in 1918.

Works by noted alumni will include: To Music by John Corigliano ('63, HonDMA '92); A Goldoni Overture by Nicholas Flagello (BM '46, MM '49); Epitaph For A Man Who Dreamed (for Martin Luther King, Jr.) by Adolphus Hailstork (BM '63, MM '65); rewind by Anna Clyne (MSM '05), Harlem River Reveille by Aaron Jay Kernis (BM '81); Recuerdo by John Musto (BM '76, MM '80 ); and an MSM Opera Theater mainstage production of Emmeline by Tobias Picker (BM '77).

The School's founder, Janet D. Schenck, was a pianist who studied with Harold Bauer in Paris. Faculty/alumna Lisa Yui (DMA '05) will present the "Lives of the Piano" series, which will feature a program on "Legacies" (October 18) that celebrates the lineage of piano at MSM with performances, video presentations, and panel discussions. Another performance in the series will chronicle 10 decades of piano music (February 21) with selections connected to the School's past.

Over the course of the institution's distinguished history, more than 200 compositions have had their first performance at Manhattan School of Music (not including hundreds of student works), and several others were commissioned for the School's special events and anniversaries. In celebration of this heritage of creative output, a touchstone of developing the 2018-19 Centennial programming has been to give some of these pieces new life; the "Re:Premieres" series will expose today's audience to this music. This season will include featured works by distinguished former faculty and alumni such as former MSM President Robert Sirota,John Corigliano ('63), Ludmila Ulehla (BM '47, MM '48), Aaron Jay Kernis (BM '81), Giampoalo Bracali, Vittorio Giannini, Adolphus Hailstork (BM '63, MM '65), Nicolas Flagello (BM '46, MM '49), Anna Clyne (MSM '05), Tobias Picker (BM '77), David Noon, Elias Tanenbaum, Jeffrey Scott (BM '90), Ursula Mamlok (BM '57, MM '58), John Musto (BM '76, MM '80), Rupert Holmes ('67), and Ned Rorem (HonDMA '00), among others.

"You only have the opportunity to celebrate your 100th anniversary once," said President Gandre. "In our case, that means drawing on a full century of musical excellence but also looking to our future. Thanks to our prodigiously talented current students, an involved and committed Board of Trustees, Faculty, and staff - not to mention the successful realization of the Centennial Project - that future is looking bright indeed."

In the years before the U.S. entry into World War I, a remarkable woman - a pianist who had also earned a degree in social work - began teaching music to neighborhood children at the Union Settlement House in New York's East Harlem district. By 1918, she had established an independent music school with the aid of artistic advisors Pablo Casals and Harold Bauer. This force of nature was Janet Daniels Schenck, who founded what would eventually become the international music conservatory known as Manhattan School of Music. Salient and innovative events in the School's timeline include: first charter (1920); Opera department (1942); offering of the Bachelor of Music degree (1943); move to current Morningside Heights location (1969); Doctoral Program (1974); Jazz Program (1982); Graduate Program in Orchestral Performance (1991); Distance Learning Program (1996); new Dormitory (2001); Contemporary Performance degree (2007); Center for Music Entrepreneurship (2010); and Musical Theatre degree (2016).

Founded as a community music school by Janet Daniels Schenck in 1918, today MSM is recognized for its more than 960 superbly talented undergraduate and graduate students who come from more than 50 countries and nearly all 50 states; a world-renowned artist-teacher faculty; innovative curricula; and a distinguished community of accomplished, award-winning alumni working at the highest levels of the musical, educational, and arts worlds. The School is dedicated to the personal, artistic, and intellectual development of aspiring musicians, from its Precollege students through those pursuing postgraduate studies.

Offering classical, jazz, and musical theatre training, MSM grants Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees, as well as the Professional Studies Certificate and Artist Diploma. Additionally, true to MSM's origins as a music school for children, the Precollege program continues to offer superior music instruction to young musicians between the ages of 5 and 18. The School also serves some 2,000 New York City schoolchildren through its Arts-in-Education Program, and another 2,000 students through its critically acclaimed Distance Learning Program.

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